Unprecedented rainfall delays planting for farmers

GRANT COUNTY, Ind. -- Farmers in central Indiana are experiencing what they call the worst planting season in history, and the numbers show it.

Those in Grant County say they are at a loss for words at the amount of rainfall this season.

“I’ve been on the farm my entire life, and I’ve never seen this,” said Steve Pyle, a fifth generation farmer of Pyle Farm.

In 45 years of farming in Grant County, Pyle says this is not normal.

“I’ve seen plenty of time where we got started in April, maybe got rained out for two or three weeks. And then, I’ve seen plenty of times where we’ve finished up this time of year.”

Pyle says his family’s 1,000 acre farm has never suffered like this. “We’re all nervous. We all have bills to pay just like everybody else. And our bills get paid by the crops we grow. And if we can’t get them in, that’s lost revenue. It makes the bottom line…it makes it real tough for ends to meet,” he said.

The latest crop progress report released by the United States Department of Agriculture Tuesday shows only 22% of corn has been planted in Indiana, compared to 94% this time last year. In addition, only 11% of soybeans have been planted, compared to 85% this time last year.

Inside their farmhouse, there are at least a dozen boxes filled with seeds for both corn and soybeans piled sky high waiting to be planted.

“We’ve had really good crops the last three to five years, that’s not going to happen this year. Unless there is something drastic that changes in our weather pattern, it’s not going to happen.” Pyle said.

Recent storms dropped an unprecedented amount of rainfall, leaving fields saturated and tractors stuck in the mud with nowhere to go.

Nevertheless, this farmer is hopeful the season will begin sooner rather than later.

“It looks like June 6 through the 10th we might have a window of opportunity to get in there. We’ll hope that that happens. But it’s totally out of our control,” he said.

That window of opportunity is the only bit of hope they have. They say with today’s equipment being larger, they’re able to cover more ground faster.

Yet the Pyles are preparing for the worst.

“Worst case scenario is that it never shuts off and that we don’t get it in the ground,” Pyle said.

Some farmers in Grant County are racing against time with insurance companies. If corn isn’t planted by June 25, and if soybeans aren’t planted by July 15, that means no insurance.

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